LSU researchers will investigate the use of sunlight to create safe drinking water at the school’s BASF Sustainable Living Lab.

BASF selected Kevin McPeak as the first researcher at the lab, created with a $1 million donation from the company. With the lab, BASF wanted to foster problem-based teaching and research focused on sustainable solutions.

“This opportunity to create chemistry with BASF elevates the chances of this research becoming a real solution to providing safe drinking water globally,” McPeak said.

Roughly 1 billion people do not have access to clean drinking water. One child dies every 20 seconds from water-related illnesses.

McPeak and his research group will use the lab to develop a portable water-disinfection system using visible light from the sun. Traditional water purification methods use only ultraviolet light, which makes up 5 percent of the solar spectrum. Visible light makes up more than 40 percent of the solar spectrum.